Old Words for New Times

The English language is really both charming and delightful. Having spoken and been able to read it and several dialects of it for many years, it is time to offer some of the charm and delight in print.

Such ideas have occasionally appeared here already. Sadly these were more in the form of a rant. Today is to celebrate that charm and delight in English – and only that.

Prompted by some reflection on what many might call obsolete adjectives, here is a (little) list. The upper part of the list shows words that we still use without question. As the list progresses, the words become slightly more obscure. The last one only now appearing as a place name.

Enjoy the read. Try one or two in an everyday sentence. The person listening might even pick up on them!


these are they that can be used without raising eyebrows.

Here are the more troublesome ones:


even perhaps

even possibly




They are easy words to understand. Some of them appear now to be confined to literary use alone.

They are adjectives – and correctly spelt according to use in the UK.

Which one might be the most ancient? And which the most recent?

Better still – are there any more?

Have fun!

Sodden Sunken


2 thoughts on “Old Words for New Times

  1. As for your first batch, I have spoken and utilized in writing all of them. Second grouping, not hardly any of these. Now. I haven’t a clue what Hollin means…I have used earthen, waxen and flaxen from the last bunch.

    1. That is really good use! Some of these I have used but some are new to me too. I think that the addition of the suffix -n or -en is very pretty to denote the adjectival form too. In the last few years here, antique dealers have been using the word “treen” to describe miscellaneous things made of wood – but that is definitely a noun, and a modern one at that. Now Svenskaborschka, if cedarn is “of cedar” and bricken is “of brick” and leathern is “of leather”, then hollin is “of holly”. It is quite a common place name in the North of England, and refers to the groups of holly trees in a particular area! Sometimes, we meet also “Hollins” too. The holly would have been a landmark, as in the carol “The Holly and the Ivy” which, “When they are both full grown/Of all the trees that are in the wood/The holly bears the crown”. By its distinctive shape, would help mark a path in the past. I did wonder if the “-n” and “-en” could have been inflections too. What do you think?

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